According to the FBI, the bandit began his robbery spree on Jan. 16, 2009 in Mobile, when he took money from a teller at the Whitney National Bank on South Royal Street.
Since then, the bandit has struck banks in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Virginia, Michigan and New York.
In Georgia alone, FBI officials have posted 75 billboards with the bandit’s face and a promise of a $10,000 reward – yet the bandit remains on the loose, said Mobile’s FBI spokeswoman, Special Agent Angela Tobon.
“It’s not common for us to offer a reward for note-type robbers,” Tobon said. “But we’ve done that in this case because he’s traveling across so many states.”
At 2:45 p.m. Friday, the bandit committed his latest robbery at the Hancock Bank at 2110 Demetropolis Road, according to Mobile police.
He walked up to a teller and presented her with a handwritten note asking for money, said police spokesman Officer Christopher Levy. When the woman complied, Levy said, the bandit fled on foot from the bank.
A surveillance camera caught the robbery.
“From what I’ve seen from other banks,” said Birmingham police Sgt. Anthony Williams, who investigated one of the bandit’s robberies last August, “the pictures are decent but they’re just not good enough to recognize him.”
Neither is his modus operandi, according to the FBI, who describes the bandit’s strategy as “calm, with a deliberate attempt to not attract attention to himself. (He) quietly presents a demand note to the victim teller and thereafter departs the bank without disruption to normal banking business.”
“Basically,” Williams said, “he goes in all nice and casual. You’d never know.”
With the exception of Mobile and Atlanta, no city has been targeted more than once. He has hit four Atlanta banks in the past year, most recently a Bank of America on April 2.
An Atlanta FBI spokesman did not return a call for comment Friday evening.
Asked how the bandit eludes tracking devices typically placed with stolen bills, Tobon said she did not know. “And I don’t know if we can release that,” she said.
Williams said, “I think the next step may be to put him on America’s Most Wanted.”
The Granddad Bandit is described as a white man in his 50s or 60s, 6 feet to 6 feet 4 inches tall, weighing 220 to 250 pounds, with a stocky build, double-chin and balding, with hair only on the sides of his head. The bandit, authorities said, also wear prescription glasses.
“It’s only a matter of time before he will get caught,” Levy said. “He will get caught.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at 251-438-3674.
EAST LANSING, Mich. April 17 2010 — Police say a 19-year-old Michigan State University student who pilfered 79 pairs of women’s panties faces possible charges.
East Lansing Police Sgt. Florene McGlothian-Taylor tells The Detroit News all 79 items were thongs.
McGlothian-Taylor says the suspect, who has not been named, was arrested April 7 after another student saw him taking underwear from a dryer in a dorm basement laundry room.
Police have been investigating since March 22, when someone reported the theft of 15 pairs of panties from the same laundry.
The man told police it was a prank and denied having a sex addiction. Police released the student.
McGlothian-Taylor says one victim wants to file charges but that Ingham County prosecutors must decide if he will be charged.
Scott Karaman, 50, who taught gym for nearly two decades at Roosevelt Elementary School, was arrested during an afternoon class on Wednesday. He faces charges including rape of a child, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child under 13 years old, aggravated indecent assault, indecent exposure and corruption of minors, according to Pennsylvania State Police.
Pennsylvania police said the rapes took place between January 1997 and December of 2004, when one of the victims was between the ages of 4 and 7 and the other was between the ages of 7 and 12.
Karaman’s current residence is listed in Polk Township, Pa., but he also has a previous address listed in Rahway, according to public records. He is being held at Union County jail and will be extradited to Pennsylvania.
The gym teacher has been suspended from his position pending the outcome of this investigation, said Frank Buglione, district superintendent. Buglione sent a letter out to parents Thursday stating that a staff member had been arrested at the school, but it did not identify Karaman.
Buglione said the out-of-state charges were not related to Karaman’s job at the school, and the school board’s attorney had advised that any other information should be released by police. The superintendent said he was “very, very concerned” about the charges.
“We hope that it doesn’t prove to be true,” Buglione said. “We don’t have any evidence of anything going on in the school at all, and if we hear anything, we’ll follow up immediately with the police department.”
He said Karaman, a former student of the Rahway school district, was hired as a gym teacher in 1992. Until a few years ago, Karaman had coached boys’ football, girls’ softball and a co-ed swim team in Rahway. He was a satisfactory employee who was well-liked by students and fellow teachers, Buglione said.
Karaman was arrested at the school at about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, shortly before dismissal. He had been teaching a third grade gym class outside when police arrived. The students were escorted inside by another teacher before Karaman was taken into custody, school officials said.
RANCHO CORDOVA, CA April 17 2010
The family of a Rancho Cordova mother who is accused of leaving her 7-week-old daughter alone in a car at Thunder Valley Casino while she and her husband gambled inside said they were shocked by the alleged incident.
“She is not a bad kid. We are all very surprised,” Panfila Pho Phan’s father said. The man, who asked not to be identified, said his daughter and her husband Thuan Nguyen, both have college degrees and never smoke, drink or gamble, though the couple have been unemployed for a year.
“I’m speechless. I don’t know what to say,” said Phan’s sister, who described her sister’s alleged actions Thursday as a lapse in judgment. “I can’t believe it. It’s my own sister.”
Phan’s father, who speaks only Vietnamese, said the couple live in a duplex next door, but were not very close with their family. The man said he did not attend his daughter’s wedding and didn’t have any pictures of his infant granddaughter.
Phan and Nguyen, both 27, pleaded not guilty Friday to felony child endangerment charges. The couple have been accused of leaving theri baby girl in the casino parking garage in Lincoln for over two hours while they gambled Tuesday evening, according to Placer County sheriff’s deputies.
Meanwhile, the Thunder Valley casino security guard who forced open the couple’s car door to rescue the infant said he couldn’t have done it alone. Roberto Ramos believes the baby made an effort to get his attention.
Ramos, 46, was on a routine bicycle patrol of the casino’s parking structure when he noticed something odd about a tan 1995 Toyota Camry parked on the third level. Most of the vehicles were clustered near the elevators, but the Camry was off by itself surrounded by dozens of empty parking spaces.
Then he saw something even more suspicious. “There was a car seat in the back covered with a blanket,” Ramos explained. He got off his bike and shook the Camry, and that’s when he discovered the baby.
“I shook the vehicle and the baby pulled out her hand from under the blanket and then put it back,” Ramos said. “Thanks to the baby showing me her hand, I had to do something.”
Ramos called his dispatcher, who sent a paramedic. Together, they forced open the driver’s window and unlocked the doors. It was 7:20 p.m. Tuesday. Thunder Valley security waited for a Placer County sheriff’s deputy to arrive and then the casino paged the owners of the car.
Nguyen and Phan arrived at the parked car at 8:08 p.m. Casino surveillance video shows they arrived at 5:30 p.m., more than two-and-a-half hours earlier.
The couple remained held in the Placer County jail on $50,000 bail each. The baby was in protective custody.
Ramos is an immigrant from the Philippines and has worked at Thunder Valley for three years. He said discovery of the baby was the most important thing he had ever done, but insisted he didn’t do anything above and beyond his job description.
“Thanks to my training, I did the job I was supposed to do,” he said.
25-year-old Corey Zoss of Sterling, Ohio in Wayne County was arrested at the UPS Distribution Center on Corporate Parkway in Wadsworth after a security guard became suspicious of his actions.
Zoss was a part-time employee at the center, in charge of “sorting and loading” packages.
Lt. Wyrick says, “One night a security guard realized someone was down at the center after hours and called us.” Zoss claimed he was dropping off papers for Human Resources, but there were no papers found on the property.
Police say, at first Zoss was not “truthful”, but eventually he cooperated with authorities.
A search warrant at Zoss’s home on Kauffman Avenue in Sterling uncovered close to $300,000 in fine jewelry. Lt. Wyrick says, “much of the jewelry was still in boxes with the tags on it.” The jewelry was either being shipped to, or from Sterling Jewelers, a company with several offices including a large site in Akron, Ohio.
Some of the jewelry was headed to stores in the Fairlawn area.
Zoss was originally arrested for breaking and entering, but later a Medina Grand Jury indicted him on felony theft,a felony in the third degree. He was released on $50,000 bond. Lt. Wyrick says, he can’t understand why a veteran with a good job would throw it all away for a quick buck, “you hate to see good people make bad decisions but certainly that’s what happened here.”
A woman who was attacked in the parking lot of Quail Springs Mall is filing a lawsuit against the shopping center.
Kathleen Grizzle said the mall’s security team was no help to her at a time she needed it most.
Grizzle was mugged and had her car stolen at the mall in February, an event she said was one of the worst moments of her life.
“A man jumped on me at Quail SpringsMall and stole my car and wedding ring,” she told a 911 operator shortly after the attack. “I don’t know why I’m still alive.”
Her lawsuit claims that the mall’s management team, General Growth Properties, showed gross negligence with a lack of security. The suit claims that the mall needed to provide adequate security throughout its premises, even the parking areas.
Court documents reveal that the security company working at the mall at the time was suspended from lawfully conducting business in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma Tax Commission records showed that Valor Security’s account was suspended in June 2000, and the law says only companies with a tax account in good standing can do business in the state.
Grizzle is suing for at least $150,000 for emotional distress and punitive damages.
Attorneys for General Growth Properties said they had just received a copy of the lawsuit and would not comment until they’ve had a chance to read it.
Police arrested Marion and Coriyon Johnson in connection with robbery. Officers said they caught the two men at a pawn shop trying to get money for Grizzle’s wedding ring.
“I believe strongly in the individual rights and responsibilities of a free society, and as governor I have pledged a solemn and important oath to protect and defend the Constitution,” Brewer said in a news release. “I believe this legislation not only protects the Second Amendment rights of Arizona citizens, but restores those rights as well.”
The law goes into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns for this session, which could happen in the next couple of weeks.
Arizona joins Vermont and Alaska in not requiring such permits.
“If you want to carry concealed, and you have no criminal history, you are a good guy, you can do it,” bill sponsor Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, has said of his bill. “It’s a freedom that poses no threat to the public.”
National Rifle Association lobbyist Matt Dogali said the new state law would not violate any current federal requirements.
“There is no federal requirement for a permit or lack thereof,” Dogali said.
The federal government oversees the background-check program required to purchase a weapon, which will still be required in Arizona in most cases.
Brewer last week did sign a separate law that exempts guns made and kept in Arizona from federal regulation, including background checks.
Arizona had 154,279 active permits as of April 4. Permit holders are spread across all ages, races and counties, but White males older than 30 in Maricopa and Pima counties hold the majority, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety data.
The permits generated $1.8 million in revenue last fiscal year, according to DPS. The money is used to help cover costs for enforcing laws related to the Highway Patrol, operating the concealed-carry weapon-licensing program and impounding vehicles.
Arizona’s permit process will remain in place, and many gun owners may still choose to get a permit. Permits would still be needed in order to carry a weapon into a restaurant or bar that serves alcohol. They would also be needed if an Arizonan wants to carry his or her gun concealed in most other states.
For those who do choose to get a permit, the education requirements do change under the new law. Classes are no longer required to be a set number of hours or include any hands-on use of the weapon. Those who don’t get a permit would not be required to get any training or education.
Retired Mesa police officer Dan Furbee runs a business teaching permit and other gun safety classes. He said if most people choose not to get a permit, it will put several hundred Arizona firearms instructors out of business.
“It’s going to hurt,” he said.
But he said what really concerns him is that the new law will allow people who have had no education about Arizona’s laws and no training on the shooting range to carry a concealed gun. The eight-hour class currently required to get a permit includes information on state law and gun safety, as well as requires students to be able to hit a target 14 out of 20 times. Furbee said his class at Mesa-based Ultimate Accessories costs $79, plus $60 for the five-year permit.
“I fully agree that we have a right to keep and bear arms,” Furbee said. “But if you are not responsible enough to take a class and learn the laws, you are worse than part of the problem.”
He said it’s not uncommon for students to walk into his classroom and pull a new gun out of a box with no idea how to hold it and no understanding of the laws surrounding it.
“If you are going to carry a concealed weapon, you should have some kind of training and show that you are at least competent to know how the gun works and be able to hit a target,” he said. “You owe the people around you a measure of responsibility.”
This new law is the latest of several that have passed over the past year since Brewer took over the office from former Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat.
Napolitano vetoed at least a dozen weapons bills that crossed her desk during her seven years in office, all of which would have loosened gun restrictions. In 2005, Napolitano rejected a bill that would have allowed patrons to carry loaded guns into bars and restaurants. In 2008, she also vetoed a bill that would have allowed people to have a hidden gun in vehicles without a concealed-carry permit.
In January 2009, Napolitano resigned to become U.S. Homeland Security secretary and Republican Secretary of State Brewer became governor.
During her first year in office, Brewer signed a bill allowing loaded guns in bars and restaurants, as well as another that prohibits property owners from banning guns from parking areas, so long as the weapons are kept locked in vehicles.